South Africa

Nigeria: Kaduna State Govt Confirms Release of 27 Kidnapped Students, Silent On Ransom Payment

It is unclear if the Kaduna state government, which had insisted that it would not negotiate with bandits or pay ransom, changed its stance to secure their release.

The Kaduna State Government has confirmed the release of the 27 students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka.

PREMIUM TIMES had earlier broke the news, reporting that the students were on their way to the state capital.

However, the state confirmed their release in a statement signed by the state's Commissioner for Home Affairs and Internal Security, Samuel Aruwan, but kept mum on reports of ransom payment.

"The government rejoices with the freed students, their families and the management of the institution over this development.

"Governor Nasir El-Rufai charged them to view their ordeal as a motivator to put the past behind and work hard towards a happier and successful future ahead," the official said on Wednesday evening.

The students were among 37 abducted on March 11, of which some were rescued earlier.

The bandits demanded N500 million as ransom for their release.

It remains unclear if the state government, which had insisted that it would not negotiate with bandits or pay ransom, changed its stance to secure their release.

A newspaper, Daily Nigerian, reported that there was a prisoner exchange with the bandits by the government. It said an arrested bandit was released in exchange for the students. The family of the students also paid ransom to the kidnappers, the newspaper reported quoting a security source involved in the negotiations.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how parents of the kidnapped students and scores of Nigerians protested at the National Assembly complex on Tuesday.

The freed students are separate from the 16 students of Greenfield University, Kaduna, who have yet to be released with their abductors threatening mass killing if a ransom is not paid for them.

As of the time of filing this report, the state government is yet to respond to the threats of the abductors, 24 hours after the expiration of the bandits' ultimatum.

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